The Road Through in Your Thirties

When I was 24 or so, I went to visit my brother in Europe. He was studying abroad in Italy, and we were thrilled to use the weeks I came out there to build a fun Euro Trip together. We excitedly met in Athens, then hit up Amsterdam, Barcelona, back to Florence, and then Palermo, Sicily before I left to go back home. It was a two week trip in total, and it was quite a journey.

I’d gone through a bad break up right before I left for that trip, which included an almost-getting-back-together moment (or a few), and then my ex and I ending things for good, followed by him almost immediately posting photos on social media with a new woman. It was honestly all for the best that it ended, but I was extremely upset when I arrived in Europe, and my brother and I talked a lot of it out. As we climbed the Parthenon, he listened as I told him the complete story. As we breezed by Amsterdam Ferris wheels and laughed through the Heineken Museum, he gave me some advice. And I listened while he told me about how he was feeling homesick in Italy, and how it was difficult that he didn’t speak much of the language. I shared my experiences studying abroad in Italy 4 years prior and any helpful tips I had. We had a lot of catching up to do and the first week we spilled our all of our frustrations to each other, meandering over and around the canals of Amsterdam and visiting the mysterious Oracle of  Delphi (which was closed). It was a time of wandering through lands unfamiliar and magical and funny and strange.

We sat together in the lobby of our hostel while, on a shared communal computer, my brother stood by me as I deleted my ex from all social media. We guided each other through some odd and new territory.

Then something changed about halfway through the trip- there was a lifting. We sat on a beach in Barcelona and sunk our feet into the sand and stared at dripping Gaudi buildings and felt free and alive. The problems started to soar out of our minds as we swam through that Spanish sea, replaced by a feeling of wonder. And the joyful giddiness stayed with us as we slurped spaghetti in Sicily and went bar hopping through ice bars and breweries and laughed and met strangers and felt like both grown ups and children again.

Now I’m on the tail end of a road trip with my family and I feel the same lifting as back then. I started this trip with an angst- nothing to do with the road trip- the trip is what helped. The feeling is the July angst I talked about in my last blogpost What Happens In Summer. Big questions play through my head in July and August and make these months a time of strong re-evaluation. But on this trip, and on many others with my family, I go through a period of release similar to that voyage through Europe. There’s something about being away for fun (and not just for my usual work travel), something about the open road. Something about talking to my family, talking to my brother again, who reminds me that dwelling on anxiety and toxic repetitive thoughts isn’t useful, and brings me back to the simple idea that the most important thing for me is my own happiness.

Whether splashing on a beach in Barcelona, or driving down the open road through some small southern town, occasionally you just need to let all the inside things out to remind yourself of what’s really important.

 

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Thirty-Something and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Mood

Earlier this week I woke up on worse than the wrong side of the bed. I woke up on the wrong side of the planet.

A black sticky cloud had descended upon my usually happy-go-lucky outlook. My eyes went dark and my blood turned ice. The outside world had become bleak and unfriendly. My favorite things felt traitorous. My favorite activities felt lifeless. Everything sucked. There seemed to be no turning back.

There’s been some tumult in my life lately that could’ve caused this blackness to fall upon my days. A big change recently happened with my job that left me horribly upset. Someone said a few things to me recently that shook my trust in people. I’ve been a bit overtired. However, I’ve been through way worse things before, and I don’t usually get this moody.

Sometimes the perfect storm occurs in your life, and no matter how good you’ve been feeling in your thirties or how good things are going, your mood will drop into the negative range. It’s normal and it’s okay.

I’m just starting to shake this feeling, but I’ve come to a few conclusions about it. Here they are.

  1. Sometimes you’re in a black mood. It’s okay. Feel it and don’t beat yourself up.

Really feel the bad mood- give yourself permission to not be okay. You don’t have to always be okay. Try not to explode angrily at other people, but otherwise go ahead and live with the feelings for now. They will pass. When I just pretend to be positive and push away my mood, it usually prolongs the badness and makes me more upset.

2. Sometimes it’ll take a bit of time

Just because you don’t feel better the next day, or the next week, doesn’t mean you’ll always feel off. Give yourself time and don’t freak out or go down a rabbit hole of thinking “everything will be bad forever”….it won’t. I have a bad habit of going down that rabbit hole when I get upset- fearing that I’ve backtracked from all the progress I’ve made in my life. It’s really a terrible habit- but I have to remember that the progress I’ve made is real and won’t just go away because of a bad period. It’s hard to remember.

3. See if you can trace the bad mood.

Sometimes there’s a root cause to the negativity that you can actually work on. Sometimes you’re moody because you need to take action. When I realized that part of my bad mood was due to my job, I started talking about it. Talking things out is sometimes really helpful for me. I also have been attempting to brainstorm baby steps to work on the job issue. We shall see.

4. Be gentle with yourself

Give yourself permission to sleep extra hours if you can grab them. Take a long bath. Watch a movie you want to watch. Walk in nature. Read a book you like. Treat yourself the way you’d treat a friend who’s down. I recently went for a walk in the gardens of the Biltmore Estate, in North Carolina. It was calming to see such amazing beauty in nature.

5. Help someone else

Jane recently was talking to me about something sad going on in her life, and I attempted to cheer her up. While cheering her up, I remembered something that always made me feel better. I had forgotten about what made me feel better in the past- or rather, my bad mood had blocked me from it.

6. Your bad mood isn’t the real you

I’m gonna say something weird now. It’s gonna sound new-agey- but I’d appreciate you bearing with me for a sec. Here goes:

Something I’ve learned in the past few years is that the real you is always love.

I know that sounds weird and hippie-ish and is hard to make sense of, even for me right now. But believe it or not, I think love is what everything really is. Love is given to and received from you all the time, no matter what. Even when you’re at your most horrible, the real you is love. Even when people around you are total douches, their real selves are sending you love. Really.

Isn’t that sort of nice to think about?

Because there are so many blocks to feeling this love. So many. Like apathy. And boredom. And fear. And those darn bad moods. But the love is still there anyway. It’s crazy.

The blocks make it so hard to remember that they’re not what’s real- they’re just blocks to what’s actually real. I don’t know why there are these blocks, and why it’s so hard to get through them. But I guess life has always been mysterious.

M35

Getting the Measles at 30- or Vaccinate Your Children Please!!

My coworker just got a notification from a tradeshow she recently worked. It said:

“We received official notice by the Florida Department of Health that an individual who attended Enterprise Connect Orlando 2015…was hospitalized with a laboratory-confirmed case of the measles. We immediately began working with the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County to assist them with their thorough investigations and notification process.

The safety and security of our staff, attendees, exhibitors and partners is our top priority. We are working closely with Florida health officials, and are following their recommendations and guidance on the immediate actions we take.”

This is a pretty messed up letter to get after working hard at an otherwise pretty typical tradeshow.

Even 5 years ago, if I saw something like this, I would have been shocked. But now I’m just angry and confused.

When I was a kid, I remember crying about getting vaccines such as the ‘measles, mumps, rubella’ vaccine, but I was dragged to the doctors office, like every other kid I knew. I’d never heard of anyone’s parents opting them out of these vaccines. It just wasn’t a thing. And I also never heard of anyone I knew getting the measles. All my friends in their 30s have never had the measles.

But now measles outbreaks seem to be happening again, and it’s not okay at all. Are future children going to be exposed to diseases that we once thought were eradicated… just because they don’t get the cure that we have in our hands?? We. Have. The. Cure. Now.

I’m a very holistic person, and I believe in alternative medicine. I use ginger tea and apple cider vinegar and garlic and lemon water to cure colds. But sometimes enough is enough…sometimes you simply need to get antibiotics or your infection won’t go away..it will get worse. In the past, before our time, you could have strep throat and then have it develop into scarlet fever without antibiotics. You need antibiotics for strep throat. Holistic medicine won’t cure it.

I get that some people are worried that vaccinations can possibly cause autism and other complications- but there’s no real proof of that. However, there IS definite proof that unvaccinated people- especially babies and children- exposed to measles WILL GET MEASLES.

So please, parents in your 30s, vaccinate your children!

Below is an amazing and hilarious Jimmy Fallon video about vaccinating your kids. Share with others.

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